Assalamualaikum, Good Morning and Greetings,
We thank Tan Sri Dato’ Setia Haji Ambrin Buang and his team at the National Audit Office for the release of the Auditor General’s Report 2012.
It is déjà vu all over again. The report continues to show a consistent pattern on the lack of care in managing government finances and assets, weak management and supervision of government projects, continued financial malpractices and more importantly the lack of political resolve and to stop all leakages and inefficiencies in managing government finances.
Another glaring and very worrying trend, is the continued lackadaisical attitude in spending government money by ministries and the lack of political will by the current government to curb repeat offenders despite its continued calls for transformation.
It is totally unacceptable for the government to continue allowing such financial malpractices especially when Malaysia has been cautioned internationally for overspending and not taking enough steps in curbing such practices.
Despite repeated caution by the investment community, the government continues the old habit of spending as long as it is within the allocation, rather than thinking to reduce its spending allocation and being more frugal.
We wish to highlight a few main findings by the National Audit Office where the government continues to spend without having the necessary controls in place, which had resulted in either wastages or leakages.
1. A sum of RM 2.051 billion was spent over 2010 to 2012 out of a RM 3.689 billion allocation by the Ministry of Education to introduce non-armed security personnel at our schools and national institutions. While the intent is indeed noble, the lack of monitoring has allowed over-aged, non-security vetted personnel and non-functioning CCTV’s to be trusted as means of keeping our children safe in schools.
2. Ministry of Transport spent almost RM 1.42 billion from an already revised allocation of RM 1.47 billion to upgrade the Kota Kinabalu International Airport. Despite spending over 96% of a revised allocation, this project initiated since 2006 is far from completion with arrival halls and passenger toilets in unsatisfactory condition, 599 potholes were found on the runway and taxiway since 2010, which are not yet repaired.
3. rom 2006 until December 2012, Ministry of Education, Communication and Culture spent RM 800.3 million with Telekom Malaysia to introduce the Malaysian Emergency Response Services (MERS) 999. This is to formalise 999 as the only formal number for emergency services. The report highlights a total of RM 41 million of improper payments and overpaid items, including a paid training trip to Geneva for a Senior Ministry Official, which amounted to RM 303,813 for 4 days.
4. Other infrastructure build projects such as the Projek Pembetungan Negara (RM 744 million spent), Kolej ATM in Port Dickson (RM 190 million spent) and Pusat Pemprosesan, Pengeluaran dan Gudang in Bangi (RM 94 million allocation) all recorded losses of between 16% to 20% from the total spent due to project delays arising from the lack of initial planning and project monitoring.
5. Delays in collection of company taxes by the Inland Revenue Board had losses estimated at RM 62 million.
6. The acquisition of 5 Beechcraft King Air 350 costing RM 175.24 million, which could not be used effectively since the pilots and technicians were trained using training modules not recognised by the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation.
Amongst the smaller wasteful expenditures and examples of the lackdaisical attitudes are;
1. Ministry of Youth and Sports spent a total of RM 67.6 million for Hari Belia 2012 from an initial allocation of RM 15 million; where RM 1.6 million was used to hire a K-pop group.
2. Polis DiRaja Malaysia lost assets under its custody amounting to RM 1.33 million. Examples of these assets are 156 handcuffs, 44 firearms, 29 vehicles, 26 walkie-talkie, 22 radio.
3. Custom-made shoes for Customs Department officials, which were not distributed on time and resulted in 7659 pairs being demolished because quality specifications were not met. The total loss reported was RM 602,089.
We urge MACC to conduct a thorough investigation on the alleged financial malpractices and to bring the culprits to justice.
However, we also yearn for the day when the government would act to penalise the ‘sharks’ responsible for these malpractices rather than only prosecuting the smaller ‘fries’.
We repeat that these ongoing financial malpractices and lackadaisical attitude of the government in spending the country’s money are totally unacceptable especially when the rakyat are now being burdened with rising fuel prices and the possible introduction of the GST.
DATO SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
OPPOSITION LEADER OF MALAYSIA